HR Certifications, Are They Really Important?

Human resources and work environments are rapidly evolving, including an increasingly diverse, four-generation workforce that requires knowledgeable, certified HR professionals who can bring multiple skills to the job. HR is transforming itself into the strategic partner today’s organizations require. But what does this mean for HR professionals?

Effective HR practices that drive business results are essential for companies to succeed in today’s competitive marketplace. However, the increasing complexities of doing business means some HR departments struggle to deliver the necessary value needed today. Because of this, more organizations are looking to certified HR professionals to bring a high level of skill and measurable results to their various endeavors. No profession can impact the success of an organization like human resources.

Certification adds credibility to your experience while broadening your skillset and your knowledge base. It demonstrates a high level of seriousness about your career. Passing any of the HR exams requires a working knowledge of the HR BOK® (Human Resources Body of Knowledge), and certification communicates this knowledge to potential employers.

Should a seasoned HR professional – or even a novice – without certification seek the credential? My answer is yes. It can enhance employment opportunities and growth and gives a seasoned pro an edge. It helped me learn techniques useful in areas like Balanced Scorecard, mergers, and acquisitions, demergers and privatization, etc. These skills helped me better manage, lead, and direct human resources management (HRM) projects across the organization.

In addition to those things, the global certified HR professional community helps you stay up to date with new methodologies and strategies, which is especially important if you are advising staff or involved in strategic organizational decisions.

Many employers don’t just prefer an HR certification; they require it. A professional who has invested in his or her own learning and development is a major asset for a company. Certification symbolizes your drive toward improving your abilities. It also helps you command greater respect among peers and team members.

In earning your certification, you gain the knowledge, experience, and confidence to master human capital management and provide guidance on human resources policies and regulatory compliance concerning employment relationships with both union and non-represented staff. The know-how you gain from work experience is great. But it may not keep you updated with HR trends and employment laws. An HR certification can help you fill this knowledge gap.

HR professionals often wonder if certification is worth the investment in time and financial resources. Aside from the years of experience required to even qualify for an HR exam, many people need additional education, as well as exam preparation. The exam itself is rigorous and expensive.

Improving your test-taking skills will be important as you prepare. HR Certification Institute (HRCI) and Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) certification exams can be almost as much an assessment of test-taking abilities as they are an evaluation of your HRM knowledge. Often, when a competent, experienced HR pro fails an exam, the deficiency is not in knowledge and understanding of professional responsibilities, but a lack of test-taking skill. Some people are naturally better test-takers than others. However, as with any skill, practice brings improvement.

Whether or not you intend to change the direction of your career or seek opportunities with a new employer, the knowledge gained through the HR certification process increases your value as someone who can manage an array of complex human resources functions. In any case, you must work at a company whose leaders appreciate HR for the value it brings to today’s organizations and what it can be, not what it has been historically.

The benefits of gaining an HR certification include:

  1. Building your brand as an expert HR professional
  2. A community of like-minded certified global HR professionals to share ideas, make suggestions, help expand your knowledge and provide support
  3. Learning new methodologies to create solid HR strategies
  4. Learning to apply new concepts and skills immediately in your job
  5. The ability to influence organizational leadership
  6. Expertise in leading change management initiatives effectively
  7. Understanding how to better impact the bottom line of the organization through measurable results
  8. Sharpening your facilitation and conflict management skills
  9. Being recognized globally as a Certified HR Professional

There are those who view HR certifications as expensive, time-consuming, and difficult. However, many hiring experts treat HR certifications as an important credential that adds credibility to one’s resume and value as an HR professional. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or just starting your HR journey, earning an HR certification can give you the edge you need to succeed while helping you build the essential skills required to excel in your career.

So, yes. HR certification is an ideal way to prove your skills in a competitive job market. Go for it!